FINMA Declares Envion AG’s $90 Million ICO ‘Illegal’

More than 37,000 investors participated in the token offering.

The Swiss financial market regulator has declared that the initial coin offering (ICO) of crypto mining firm Envion AG is illegal and “seriously violated supervisory law.”

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), in an official notification published on March 27, mentioned that via its ICO the Swiss mining company raised more than CHF 90 million (around $90.3 million) from more than 37,000 investors in early 2018. However, the company failed to follow the necessary statutory licensing requirements.

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Already under liquidation

Founded in 2017, Envion AG was developing “mobile crypto mining units” involving clean energy. Last year, keeping pace with other blockchain-based firms, the Zug-based company issued tokens which could be bought with US dollar, Bitcoin, or Ethereum.

The mining company is currently under liquidation after receiving an order from the cantonal court of Zug in November 2018 for conducting an allegedly unauthorized ICO.

FINMA began probing Envion in July 2018 under the suspicion of the violation of Swiss financial market rules. In its recent statement, the watchdog agency said that the crypto company granted 30 years to investors after which they can claim their repayments. These “bond-like” instruments fall under the country’s Banking Act and thus requires a banking license.

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The regulator also pointed out that the conditions under which the Zug-based company issued tokens were not equal for all its investors. In addition, the company did not even set up an internal audit unit which is required by the country’s laws.

“The conditions for the EVN tokens issued in a bond-like form were not equal for all investors, the prospectuses did not meet the minimum statutory requirements and there was no internal audit unit as required by law,” FINMA noted.

“In the present case, this acceptance of US dollars and the Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, therefore, amounted to an acceptance of public deposits for the purposes of the Banking Act. This, however, requires a banking license.”

However, it is not clear yet if the company, already in the liquidation process, will start refunding its investors or not.

Last week, the Swiss parliament approved a motion ordering the Federal Council to start adapting the existing legislation for digital currency regulation. Amid that, the council has announced that it has started a consultation period for introducing the new laws.

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